For Championship sides, recruitment has to be spot on to not only finish in the top four at the end of the regular season, but to also challenge the four Super League sides that fail to finish in the top eight. Sometimes, a Championship side brings in a new signing that makes the rest of the league sit up and take note. Midway through the 2017 season, for example, promotion-favourites Hull KR brought in powerhouse forward Mose Masoe. Now, here are the five signings that could excel in the second tier in 2018.

Josh McCrone

Arguably one of the greatest signings in Championship history, Josh McCrone joins the promotion-chasing Toronto Wolfpack on a two-year deal.

Although 2017 proved to be one of his best seasons in the NRL to date, McCrone was expected to find his opportunities at St George Illawarra Dragons limited in 2018 with fellow half-back Ben Hunt likely to link up with Gareth Widdop in the halves. St George's loss, however, is very much Toronto's gain. The wily half-back has over 150 NRL games under his belt, and, at 30 years of age, will bring a wealth of experience to the Canadian side as they hunt for the top four.

Bodene Thompson

Leigh Centurions have gone about their off-season business in an impressive manner; their 2018 Championship side looks, on paper, stronger than their 2017 Super League side. Amongst these new recruits is long-serving NRL forward, Bodene Thompson. Thompson hails from Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty on New Zealand’s North Island, a city renowned more for producing international cricket and Rugby Union players.

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In 2009 he became the first Tauranga born-and-raised player to play in the NRL after debuting for the Gold Coast Titans against the Newcastle Knights in May 2009. Thompson went on to score nine tries in 49 games for the club, before linking up with Wests Tigers in 2013 and, in 2015, the New Zealand Warriors. Over the course of nine seasons, Thompson has made nearly 150 NRL appearances. And, is there any wonder why? Thompson is a barnstorming second-rower with a devastating running and offload game, and, if he hits the standards he has set for himself recently, Thompson has the potential to light up the Championship with new club Leigh.

Martyn Ridyard

It is quite unfathomable that Leigh would allow a player of Martyn Ridyard's calibre to join promotion rivals Featherstone Rovers. But, after making over 200 appearances for the Centurions in nine years at the club, Ridyard was shown the door at the end of Leigh's disappointing 2017 season. Half-back Ridyard knows the Championship like the back of his hand - experience which will be invaluable for Featherstone as they look to go one better in the Qualifiers.

And, after tasting promotion with Leigh in 2016, he knows just what it takes to get over the line.

William Barthau

French international half-back William Barthau is an off-season signing by ambitious club Toulouse Olympique. After playing a starring role for London Broncos as they reached the top four in 2017, Barthau moves to the south of France in order to go one better with the Toulouse club. With 15 Super League appearances, 60 Championship games and 16 French caps to his name, Barthau could be a potential season-breaker for Toulouse. And, the French club's ability to prise the talented half-back from London could become crucial in the race to the top four come the end of the season.

Joe Westerman

Every Rugby League player likes a challenge, but for Castleford born-and-bred Joe Westerman, his move to Toronto is up there as one of the greatest. Still only 28 years of age, Westerman has seemingly been around forever after debuting for Castleford Tigers aged just 17. After nearly 300 Super League appearances for the Tigers, Hull FC and most recently Warrington - who paid £150,000 to Hull to secure Westerman's services in October 2015 - the loose-forward makes the move to Canada to help the Wolfpack in their quest to make the top flight.

Having a skilful ball-handling loose-forward in one's side is becoming more rarer as teams often opt to play another prop in that position instead. Yet, Westerman is one of the last of his kind; on his day, Westerman can turn a game in a flash. Toronto's success in tying him to a three-year deal could be the difference between the Canadian side missing out on the Championship top four and making it there with ease. #RugbyLeague #RL #ChampionshipRL